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June 28 & 29th 2018, Mumbai

EXPERTS SPEAK

Dr. Abhijit Sarkar, MRICS

Country Head-Corporate Real Estate, Administration & Facility, BNP Paribas

1. What growth potential do you see for facilities management sector in India?

Facility Management is operational in India almost since decade. The sector has seen severe growth in last few   years whereby transforming from labor led to technology driven. The growth is accelerated due to growth of BPO/ IT/ ITES/ Retail Sectors. Though Facilities management services market in India has been growing steadily over the years and is set to witness significant momentum over the next five years. It is a highly fragmented industry with few organized players and mostly unorganized small operators. Facilities management business is largely unorganized in India and operates on low margins. Consolidation in this segment is slowly gaining momentum as players are growing their business by acquiring smaller firms. Facilities management services are primarily concentrated in and around metros with low penetration in Tier II and Tier III cities. There is an increasing demand for such services as emphasis on urban development and modernization of office spaces is growing. Consistent economic growth has led to a booming real estate sector in India, which will drive the growth of this market in the near future. Strong growth in real estate sector has given immense potential to property management companies to provide integrated facilities management services. Many residential and commercial complexes are being constructed including offices, business centre’s, housing apartments, manufacturing units and other such facilities. This has led to a huge demand for facilities management services housekeeping, security, cleaning, electrical, mechanical and civil engineering services. Increasing malls and retail stores has increased the demand for many services offered by the facilities management companies. Boom in real estate sector has spurred growth in the facilities management services market in India and will help it to develop further Indian Real Estate sector is expected to become a US$ 180 billion industries by 2020.The demand for Real Estate is expected to increase  from EST 7.3 billion sq.ft. to 10.15 billion sq.ft. Smart Cities Project is going to unfold huge opportunities for Facility Management Professionals.

2. As an user/operator in Facility Management, what are the qualities you look for in your vendor/ supplier before choosing them for FM operations?

The selection of a new facility service provider is very strategic decision for an organization, since facility service provider can influence the overall workplace performance, business efficiency, employee well-being, productivity and not least talent attraction and retention. Hence it’s important that few factors are considered before an organization decides to appoint a facility management operator. The major issues observed with an FM organizations is that many fail to manage the smooth transition process and in view of which the services and consistency is always at stake, hence it’s very important that the  Service Provider who is appointed comes with a very strong record of showcasing their competency in handling the Transition Management.

Secondly the FM employees play an integral role in the daily operations. After all, these service employees are responsible for making sure that the company’s visitors, partners and customers get the best service experience when visiting the companies facilities. And in order for these service employees to carry out their tasks successfully, they must have a clear understanding of clients business and be trained to act and interact in compliance with what defines the business. To highlight, FM requires the three fold of manpower i.e. professional, skilled & unskilled. Availability of professional & skilled manpower is always major challenge, as it requires potential of handling larger projects and demand for relevant qualification.For this reason, the requirement of training and development has always been a top priority for the Facility Management customers. When selecting a new Facility Services provider, it’s very important to discuss the employee training process and seek for their expertise within the field. To understand, which training processes are most important. Thirdly selecting a service provider with a diverse workforce also minimizes the overall contract risk. The reason for this is that a diverse workforce generally has lower employee turnover and lower absenteeism, which in turn leads to fewer disruptions in day-to-day service and less risk of failure.

Fourthly it’s always important to hire a Services provider that can scale globally with the organisation. This helps to create more efficient workflows, drive global cost reductions and provide consistency in service delivery across markets and cultures. There are examples when many of the MNCs have their Global contract for Facility Management in place. Finally it’s important that the Facility Service Providers understands the purpose of clients business. the way organisation manage employees and handle business relationships .The Facility Services provider also needs to be flexible enough to continuously adapt service deliveries to the needs of the client and react quickly when changes occur in the marketplace. To quickly respond to changes, Commencing a new Facility Services contract can be a critical affair. However if the organization is able to finalize a service provider who dedicates time to understand the organizations reality, business, goals, visions, the ways of working and is keen to act on the purpose of the business, probably the results will be significant.

3. What impact will new technologies like Block chain, Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and 3D printing have on the imminent future of Facilities Management in India?

Technology is a big enabler in FM sector. Technology has a wider role to play when it comes to facility management today. The role of facilities management is changing, with building owners increasingly expecting facilities management teams to be stakeholders and collaborators for business growth. The focus is shifting to highly efficient operations and an elevated occupant experience, with teams being expected to extend their roles as smart solution providers.Facilities management is growing smarter, and customers expect on-demand service. Artificial intelligence gives additional insights into and control over environmental and facility control, example, reducing energy use to create a net-zero energy location effectively doubles capital planning ability. It plays important role in better predictability and demand forecasting. Artificial Intelligence can integrate with virtually any connected system via the IoT. This benefit is the most impactful, the IoT uses automated systems to report information. Residing in cloud-based technologies, IoT-connected systems can integrate with more systems and increase potential savings. Artificial intelligence improves occupant experiences by identifying potential risks. Poor facilities management does more harm than just eat away at profitability; it can result in health problems, like severe allergies or uncomfortable work conditions. Artificial intelligence can identify these risks in the same manner as identifying potential equipment malfunctions. Artificial intelligence in facilities management will only grow in importance over the coming years, and Facilities Managers need to take steps to ensure their systems and processes can handle the transition. While the Internet of Things and machine learning is at the heart of the technology that will enable efficiencies of scale in facilities management. In a high cost, high expenditure and heavy maintenance industry, facilities management teams that use machine learning can switch up their role from service providers to value-added partners and show clear benefits to businesses by delivering sustainable facilities management solutions. Predictive rather than reactive asset management is critical to providing an elevated occupant experience.

4. How do facilities professionals move away from the mindset of an "Administrative Support' function and be recognised as key critical resources for the enterprise? What are your thoughts on this?

Facility management is prevailing in India since decade ,as we saw the growth of smart buildings, the role of Administration Department changed completely and that’s how over a period of time transformed to a diverse & strategic role of Facility Manager. Facilities Managers are today considered to be the business enabler. Facilities Managers today play a critical role in aligning the organizational objectives and missions so they can be achieved successfully. FM is a key function in managing facility resources, support services and working environment to support the core business of the organisation in both the long- and short-term FM has become significant to various kinds of organisations, as an emerging service that can support and enhance their business value. An efficient FM is a contributing factor of a total organisation success. It contributes to the delivery of both strategic and operational goals. On a daily basis, FM is a service that can provide a safe and cohesive working environment, contributing to the overall work performance and business success. Evolution of FM over the past decades has seen FM from being just another service provider to being upgraded as a business enabler. The role of FM had gradually evolved from merely helping the organisation to survive to acting to enhance its potential in the industry. The new role as a business enabler is based on the three imperative approaches of FM’s role that are “integrating”, “aligning” and “innovating”. The role of FM as a business enabler can be seen from a strategic point of view, where FM provides relevant information to help the top management to formulate business strategies, plan and control organisational activities, facilitate decision-making process, plan the use of limited resources efficiently and effectively, improve business performance, enhance shareholder values, safeguard business assets (tangible and intangible) and ensure corporate compliance.

To conclude, FM holds a strong role as a business enabler. It supports organisations not only from the operation side, but also the business continuity and both short- and long-term organisation goals and success. FM brings organisation to the strategic way forward, and this role should be integrated into all business and organisation strategic plans to offer an added value to the organisation itself.

5. Your views on The Economic Times “Facility Management Summit” and how important do you to feel is the need of organizing such summits?

Functional, efficient and safe workplaces are key factor which every organization today look for and it’s the Facilities manager who is responsible for attaining it. With disruptive technologies, skills shortages and squeezed budgets, it is essential that facilities managers stay on top of recent developments.

I personally feel that the way Role of Facility Manager is transforming today, therefore it is very important that they are aware of all the recent trends and remain in the competition. Therefore events  like   The Economic Times “Facility Management Summit” will play a major role in creating a strong platform for knowledge sharing whereby bringing all the fraternity members under one roof where each of them can study examples of best practice and learn from the innovators who are leading the way in facilities management.
Learn from real life case examples provided by service users. Gain insights from panel of expert speakers.